The male and female bears were originally confiscated in 2012 while being trafficked from Laos to Vietnam. Most likely they would either have been trafficked on to China or used in Vietnam’s own, illegal bear bile industry. It’s also likely that their mother would have been killed by poachers.
Since then they have been cared for by Xuan Lien Nature Reserve with the assistance of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and Vietnam’s Forestry Protection Department (FPD).
Originally, these groups intended to return the cubs to the wild, but the ill-health of the male cub has forced a change of plans. Suffering from blindness due to cataracts, the decision has been made to house the pair in Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre (VBRC) in Tam Dao, Vinh Phuc province. There the bears can be rehabilitated and be provided with on-going veterinary care.
The VBRC has a great deal of experience of dealing with special needs bears including blind bears. Following a medical evaluation in Thanh Hoa the bears will be transported 240 km via truck to the VBRC in Tam Dao and are expected to arrive late, local time, this evening.
Animals Asia Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:
“We are indebted to the Thanh Hoa Forestry Protection Department for their vigilance and to Xuan Lien nature reserve GIZ for their support of the cubs. We look forward to giving these two young bears the care they deserve and ensuring they grow up in safe surroundings. They will never suffer the cruelty of a bear bile farm.”